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TFRD firefighter assists Hurricane Laura rescues

A firefighter is making his heroic return back to Toledo after being deployed with rescue crews in Louisiana, searching through the rubble left behind by Hurricane Laura.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 1:15 PM EDT
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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - Pvt. Jake Hoffman is a member of Toledo Fire and Rescue’s Special Operations Team. On a regular basis, Hoffman is stationed at their training facility in Swanton preparing to rescue and provide assistance to anyone in need, including the victims of a hurricane over a thousand miles away.

“I think if you ask most firefighters, what they’ll tell you is that you never want to see something bad happen to anybody, but if it does happen you want to be there to help out and do whatever you can," said Hoffman.

Pvt. Jake Hoffman is a Toledo Firefighter who also works on Ohio’s Task Force 1, a group of first responders providing rescue service and assistance following major disasters around the country.

“So we were sent out as a what is known as a type 1 team which is 84 people, and that includes everyone from k-9 handlers to doctors to rescuer specialties, hazmat specialists, truck drivers, I mean you name it," said Hoffman.

Taskforce 1 drove directly into the path of the wreckage left behind from category 4 Hurricane Laura. Once in the field Hoffman went straight to work, using his training and experience with toledo fire to search and rescue anyone left behind from the storm. Hoffman explains that the site of the scene was unreal.

“It was as if there was a tornado that stretched from Fremont to the Indiana line, and Michigan, all the way down to Findlay," said Hoffman. It was just a house destroyed everywhere and there was no rhyme or reason.”

Pvt. Hoffman telling 13 ABC his team consisted of responders from all across the state who’ve seen the worst disasters in US History.

“We have guys that responded to ground zero, and we’re digging in the rubble at Ground Zero, guys that were making rescues in New Orleans with the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, and basically it’s just a really good experience, whether it’s real-world experience or training that we can take back to Toledo and improve our operations as well," said Hoffman.

Whether Jake Hoffman is training for another day in Toledo or arriving at the next natural disaster, he’s ready to answer anyone’s call for help.

“Whether that’s somebody having a heart attack on a Saturday night in Toledo or it’s a hurricane hitting Louisiana, if there are people needing help, most firefighters will want to be where the action is.”

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